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"Plant-Effect" snowfall affects Borger

February 11, 2014

The top photo, taken at a residence on Davenport Street, was shot at the same time as the bottom photo, taken outside Golden Plains Community Hospital. Photos courtesy of Deena Rodriguez

It was hard not to notice the drastic differences in Sunday’s snowfall throughout various parts of town. With some areas receiving only a light frosting, and others a downfall of several inches, one might wonder what the cause is for this seemingly picky blizzard. The Borger News-Herald contacted KVII News Channel 7 Meteorologist Brian James to find the answer.

According to James, the reason for the snow’s behavior lies in two factors: local plants such as the Agrium nitrogen production plant and wind direction.

Agrium, along with the carbon black plant, produce a clean steam that provides the warmth, water vapor, and cloud condensation nuclei. The condensation nuclei are small particles on which the water vapor condenses, freezes, and becomes snow.

All of these “ingredients” were trapped in the lower layer of Earth’s atmosphere by a layer of warm air situated several thousand feet above the ground, allowing for the snow to accumulate.

Steady winds from the northeast pushed the snow to the south and southwest areas of town, blanketing areas such as Bunavista in a coat of fresh, white powder.

It is important to remember that, while the conditions are unique, the snow still creates a very real threat to those who travel through it. Exercise caution when driving on the roads and highway affected by this interesting weather phenomenon.

The snowfall is expected to dissipate when the winds shift direction Monday evening, and should have ended as of press time.

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